Parents of students at Dayton Public Schools' Westwood PreK- 6 met with DPS facilitators, Thursday, February 8th. This meeting is designed to help DPS officials look for input from parents whose children attend schools involved in the DPS right-sizing plan.
"This is an opportunity for us to find out how to best serve parents' needs," said Dr. Elizabeth Lolli, DPS Acting Superintendent.
DPS first explained the right sizing plan in early January. Buildings with low student enrollment (less than 50% capacity) and in need of up to $1.5 million in repairs are financially and academically exhausting. There are 18 elementary school buildings that need to be consolidated to a smaller number that would better serve DPS students. Right-sizing can offer a proper foot print with balanced, quality courses throughout the district.
The plan includes placing specialized, licensed teachers in all of the buildings instead of just a few. Right now, in some content areas, students are being taught by non specialized, unlicensed reserve instructors. Pooling resources means there will be enough specialized teachers and fewer long term substitutes.
Meeting in the Westwood library, parents sat in small groups at several tables and listened as facilitators used charts to address and answer questions and offer additional information. This is where the groups learned Westwood, initially earmarked for right sizing because of enrollment under 50 percent, is now at 53%. With 369 students in the building, the increase is up five percent from two months ago.
Westwood parent Titus Thompson said with 28 classrooms filled, the building that has been attended by all of his five children, includes great teachers serving quality education. "The location makes Westwood a great neighborhood school. Many of the students walk, or are driven to school by their parents. There is great parent involvement and we feel very secure here."
Dr. Lolli told the group, compared to other buildings, repairs to Westwood amount to very little - $75,000. That information, combined with the significant enrollment hike, parents said they felt the school should be off the chopping block. During the meeting, they gave DPS a vision of a new and improved Westwood with drama classes, expanded dance classes, a diverse selection of sports and expanded foreign languages.
"I think staying the course will be positive for parents, staying the course will be positive for students," said Dr. Lolli.
Community (stakeholder) group meetings will be held February 22 at Meadowdale Prek - 6 at 6 pm and February 28 at Edwin Joel Brown Middle School at 6 pm.